Saturday 29th May 2010 – Luxor
Was woken at 4.20am by a lot of commotion outside so took a look to see we were moving through Esna lock. Once clear the boat picked up speed, quicker than anytime we’ve been on the Nile so far. I guess we need to make time up for the delay in leaving Aswan. Tina also woke up and went to the loo; it looks like the Egyptian food may have finally got to her although it might be the cold she has worked through. Anyhow she said she hadn’t slept much through the night.
I managed to go back to sleep until just after six but woke with a big headache. Not sure whether it was dehydration or the wine last night but paracetamol will be required.
Got up for a shave and shower at 7.30am whilst Tina slept and woke her shortly afterwards. She said she felt rough in the night, with disturbed sleep and upset stomach. She also has been bitten again. Incredibly Tina has been attacked on a number of occasion and I’ve not. As she has just said “Tina not happy”
Breakfast just after eight, now getting into a regular routine of mixed omelette followed by cheese from the tray. Tina had a croissant. Discussing with Barbara the excursion yesterday to Abu Simbel. We all agreed it was well worth it. She said her and Stuart were too old for dancing (I think they’re both in their mid-sixties) so didn’t bother with the party last night. They seem a really nice couple. Next excursion is to Karnak temple, we have arrived at Luxor and have docked up against another boat.
We assembled once again in reception and left to visit Karnak Temple of the Living in Luxor.
Our boat was the eighth boat to dock and therefore we had to walk through seven others to get to the coach, a strange arrangement but it seems to work as every dock has been the same. I assume that’s why a security guard is employed on each door. Between each boat are steps or planks bridging the gap between the different levels. On arrival at Karnak we were led into the visitors centre where a large model of the site as it would have originally been was housed. You could then appreciate the size of what we were about to see.
The site was massive with seven centuries of building and many kings having used it over that time. Salwa gave us a guided tour as much as she could in the time allowed.
Unfortunately many of the kings destroyed the previous kings work and cartouches and so has made it difficult for Egyptologists to work out the timeline for building works. On the outer pylon there was visible signs of how they built the structures using ramps which were use to built up and decorate down. This has enabled historians to ses how other structures such as the pyramids were built. The hypostyle was spectacular with 142 massive columns and large obelisks outside dominating the site. The columns had been restored by the French in the 19th century and it took them 80 years, according to Salwa.
Unfortunately Tina’s stomach was playing up still and it started cramping. She therefore needed to go to the toilet…and quickly. She left with just some money and no idea when we were meeting up or mobile to contact me. So once Salwa had finished her tour I took a few more photos and then walked out to try and find her. Luckily she was waiting outside for me in the shade of a palm tree feeling a bit better after her impromptu visit. It’s a shame we only had half an hour to look around the site as there was a lot to see, but at least I managed to get some photos to record the visit.
We left Karnak and stopped off at a department store that sold jewellery, gifts and Egyptian linen and all prices were fixed. Even so it was difficult to browse without the salesmen asking if there was anything we liked. We didn’t buy anything. Back to the boat for lunch.
Just before lunch I ordered a copy of the DVD showing the recordings made during the holiday by the official video man. The quality is not great but it has a few recordings of us on it during the party and Tina’s birthday surprise.
In the cabin we were welcomed by another ‘towelanimals’ this time a peacock, whilst others on our dining table had swans.
Another round of lunch, vegetable soup followed by beef, mashed potato and carrots. The beef, although getting a bit repetitive is very tender and I enjoyed it. Tina didn’t eat much, due to her tender condition.
Afterwards we bought a few photos from the official photographer costing £170EP then we went up to the sundeck for a while, me in the sun, Tina in the shade.
At 3pm we all met in the lounge where Mustafa held the departure meeting. Here he discussed the final optional excursion details, none of which we had booked, the departure information for Monday and about the tipping of him, Salwa and any discretionary tips to other staff.
We were also asked to complete a feedback form about the holiday. We gave 10 out 10 for most things. We also gave some good feedback about Sabry and then kitchen staff for looking after me with my GF condition.
Tina and I agreed that we would give Salwa and Mustafa £20 each and Sabry £10.
After the meeting we left the boat to visit a papyrus shop then Luxor Temple.
The papyrus shop, whilst interesting to see how it’s made, was really just a shop full of Egyptian pictures painted on papyrus. And whilst there was no hard sell, we were followed around and as soon as you stopped and showed interest you were pounced on by the salesmen. Suffice to say we didn’t buy anything but Tina did make use of their toilet.
Luxor temple next; not such good condition but still well worth visiting. Salwa gave us a tour of the site, explaining it was a full history of the Ancient Egyptian history ranging from kings Ramses II and Amenhotep IV through to Alexander the Great, the Romans and the conversion to Islam.
This temple is still uncovering relics and there is still work to reveal the Alley of the Sphinx which runs between Karnak and Luxor temples.
There is one of a pair of obelisks outside the pylons, one of which is now in Paris. Salwa stated that both had been gifted to France but the effort of moving the first one put them off moving the second.
The history of discovering the temples is quite fascinating and I might look up this when I get back home.
We left the temple and made our way back to the boat, not before nearly leaving a couple of guests behind.
Salwa gave us a final farewell speech as this was her last tour with us; she flies home to Cairo tomorrow. She got a round of applause. We arrived back to the MS Da Vinci around 6.30pm, in tome for dinner at 7pm
Dinner was a fish buffet and there was food in the platters I could have; swordfish and rice along with the usual salad. Fruit to finish off.
Tina had very little, still suffering with her stomach (she had to leave the dinner table rather quickly after getting a bout of cramps). We were due to to the Light and Sound Show at Karnak but Tina has decided that she’s not going to go as she doesn’t want to get caught out needing the toilet at short notice.
I had a shower, insisted Tina drink some water then left to go to the show.
I spoke to Mustafa about Tina not feeling well and he got her some pills from reception. He said to take them now and in the morning and to only eat light food for breakfast such as cheese and drink black sweet tea or coffee. I took them to Tina and then boarded the coach for the Sound and Light show.
On arrival we were shown where to go and the show started straight away. The first half if the show is a walk through and lasts about half an hour. You then walk to a stand where the remaining show is played out. Whilst seeing the temple lit up at night, the commentary wasn’t particularly exciting and I notice a couple of people had nodded off towards the end.
I made the long walk back to the coach and we left shortly after, returning to the boat by 11pm.
Tina was awake and said she hadn’t needed to go to the toilet whilst I was away. Hopefully the tablets are kicking in.
Click here for Day 8